I want to talk about the kinds of things I did as a kid for fun. This isn’t all I’ve played or done, but it’s a good chunk.
My first video game was on the Apple II. A cell-based 2D shooter Star Wars game. I don’t think I ever learned the name. I was about five years old. It was our family’s first computer. My father won it from a grocery store lottery. My father had no idea what to make of it and largely ignored it before selling it to pay rent. My next gaming machine was a Nintendo used from the thrift store though I played with my brother in law’s Sega, Super Nintendo, and eventually 3DO.
Since then I’ve been playing all assortment of personal computer video games. We were pretty poor during that period so it was either freeware, shareware, or demos. About the age of ten I started to get into RPGs (Roleplaying Games), with my first being a sprite based game called “Realmz”, and subsequently the “Exile Series”, also a sprite game. I remember playing Escape Velocity and the Exile series a lot. I like to think it’s the environment that helped me understand and appreciate and promote Creative Common work.
At the age of thirteen I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, The Beginner’s Set. It was a mini set of the classic and very popular Tabletop Role-playing Game. I tried to find more of these types of games on the computer probably because I associated game play with computers at a very early age. I ran into these things called MUDs (Multi-user Dungeons), the first being Achaea. Delving deeper into the community I found my first MOO (Multi-user Object Oriented MUD) which was a little more focused on the prose instead of gaming. Around that time I also discovered my first gaming shop and received a huge box of really old and expensive Magic: The Gathering cards.
It wasn’t until I was fifteen that I would join my first MUSH (Multi-User Shared Hallucination). The name of the game is pretty much lost, but I do remember that it was based around the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition tabletop game. I had remembered playing it and was heavily intrigued. I would finally get to play this cool RPG with others! My first character there was a cheesy barbarian who used two swords. I was a horrible writer. I only played for a month, but it left a mark and I looked around for others like it in my free time.
I wouldn’t find a Tabletop role-playing game MUD until Awake World, my first experience into a non-D&D TableTop RPG. I didn’t have any of the Shadowrun books and knew nothing about the game. I sort of knew what Cyberpunk was from a brief but painful stint on a game called Iconoclast and Cybersphere. Awake Worlds was also a painful experience both in management and relationships. I was fourteen at the time and didn’t socialize outside of my computer so I naturally used the game to enhance and feed my inquistive nature and need for peers.
During that period I was responsible for the co-founding of both Awakened Worlds, an off shoot by the original programmer Che, and the foundation and management of Staring At The Sun. Since I had no idea how to programming I depended on a transgendered by the name of Moore. She(He) seemed heavily, and unhealthily, attracted to me. It ended up being a good lesson in dealing with insanity and the insane. Shortly after that I worked to build a third game run by myself and two others (Coin and Hide) called Shadowrun: Las Vegas. It didn’t work out.
I stumbled upon my first MUSH (Multi-User Shared Hallucination) at the age of sixteen called Shadowrun: Denver. It was built and run by Wyldfire and Craig a married pair of guys who are both into the computer world and furry community. I still didn’t have any of the books required to play and had to learn by listening and observing. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could find books in PDF format on the internet for free illegally. My first illegally downloaded PDFs were the Shadowrun core books (The Core Book, Magic In The Shadows, Man & Machine, Rigger 3, Matrix).
I devoured those books through the screen. At this time I also was gifted with one of my first video games: Warcraft 3. I would play that late into the nights (2am, 3am) with my close friend Jordan Lavigne. We favored defensive positions and had an easier time macro-managing than micro-managing. We both went to middle school together although he was younger and significantly more intelligent.